Knowing my fondness for the Vikings, a reader sent me a link this morning to an article in The Daily Mail about the recent rethinking of the status of the Vikings in British history.
It seems that those Norse marauders weren’t as bad as we thought — just regular multicultural chappies like us, even if they were a bit rough round the edges.
The full article will appear in tonight’s news feed, but here are some excerpts:
For more than a thousand years they have had a reputation for raping, pillaging and engaging in violent conquests.
But new research suggests that this violent image of the Vikings may be a little unfair.
In fact, some academics claim that the Norsemen were ‘model immigrants’ who lived side-by-side in relative harmony with the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic locals.
Researchers say the Vikings should been seen as an early example of immigrants who were successfully assimilated into British and Irish culture.
Dr Maire Ni Mhaonaigh, who is co-organising the three-day conference in Cambridge on the subject, genuinely believes modern-day Britons today can learn from such positive immigration.
She said: ‘Most people’s image of the Vikings centres on their arrival and disruption but that only continued for a very short period of time.
‘Afterwards they started building settlements and interacting with the locals and became assimilated into their culture and influenced them in many ways.
‘As such they provide a clear example of how a particular group came into a sophisticated established society and the resulting interaction was positive.
‘Both societies profited and modern day people can take a lesson from this that two cultures coming together can learn from each other.’
“Arrival and disruption”? Now there’s a euphemism.
That’s not quite how their English contemporaries experienced the Vikings, if you believe their chronicles of the period. The rape, murder, looting, plundering, and enslavement continued for centuries.
If this is supposed to reassure us about Britain’s current experiment in Multiculturalism, it’s a signal failure.
I sent the link to this article to my Viking friends, and Yorkshire Miner — who has “honorary Viking” status because of the many years he lived in Denmark — sent me a long and thoughtful reply. With his permission, I reproduce it below:
Sometimes I despair of this liberal twaddle. It is a last desperate attempt at revisionist history, to make the facts fit the fantasy that Multiculturalism is fine and well and all will turn out for the best, and that these Neanderthal Muslim clowns we have imported from the land of the pure are pussycats just like the Vikings.
The Vikings were not pussycats; in fact they were the opposite in many ways. While many later were traders and farmers, the early lot were opportunistic thugs.
An example: when I was traveling up to Stockholm in the mid ’70s I stopped at a town in Sweden called Varnamo and wandered into the forest to look at a runic stone. It stood about 12 feet high as far as I remember, and there was a runic inscription running across the top. It went something like this: Ulf and Sven have erected this stone in memory of their good friend Thor who took part in the Danegeld and died fighting at Bath.
Your perfect immigrant and tourist.
– – – – – – – – –
There was fighting during the whole time the Vikings were in England. In fact, the first sea battle fought by the Royal Navy was against the Vikings at Swanage. It wasn’t really a sea battle, as several ships of the opposing fleets — which were quite small — were stranded on the same sand bank by the falling tide, and the crews got off the ships to slog it out on the sand bank itself.
I could go on, but during the 300 years of Saxon-Danish Multiculturalism there was fighting from the beginning to the end, with quite long gaps between Stanford Bridge, the battle Harold fought just before the Battle of Hastings where he defeated Harald Hardrada, which was an extremely bloody affair.
You also don’t divide a country into two parts if the two cultures get on together. This happened in England, with the country being divided by a line drawn along Watling Street, the old Roman road stretching in a straight line from London to Angelsey in Wales. North of Watling Street was called the Danelaw.
If you have a separate law for any part of your country, you have in fact divided it up into two countries. A good present-day example of this is of course Cyprus, and we all know how well the Greeks and Turks get on together. You can imagine what will happen when Sharia law rules the roost in certain areas of our cities.
“Will the Fat Bastard”: this is not a term of abuse for William the Conqueror, because he was fat and he was a bastard in both meanings of the word. His harrying of the North from the Humber to the Tees in (I think) 1069 was pure genocide and ethnic cleansing. All because the Vikings didn’t take too kindly to his way of governing them.
I like the bit in the article about them accepting Christianity. Yes, the Vikings did, but not because they were convinced by its theological arguments. The Vikings were polytheistic, and had no problem with believing that different gods ruled different parts of the world. Being a superstitious lot they had no difficulty nipping into the local church to say a quick prayer to appease the Christian god who ruled over these islands, or wearing a crucifix round their necks. A bit of heavenly insurance did no harm, and there is a die in the Danish National Museum for casting Thor’s hammer and crosses at the same time.
There certainly was a lot of interbreeding, but there won’t be this time, and I suspect that when Britain is divided up into different Islamic and Christian kingdoms the solution will be worse than Willie’s escapades in the North — genocide with a vengeance, and not like the more humane expulsion of the Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovakia after the last war.
I don’t really believe that history exactly repeats itself, but I do believe in what Mark Twain said, that it has a tendency to rhyme.
We are living in interesting times, and the pot is coming to the boil. I have never seen such spontaneous anger in the Brits as I saw over the march in Luton. The larger more virulent demonstrations in London over the Danish Cartoons a couple of years ago resulted in huge numbers of letters to the editors of the London newspapers and bemused contempt. The Luton reaction bordered almost on hatred.
I seriously suspect that if the crowd had been larger and more youngsters had been there and the Muslims had not been protected by that substantial cordon of police, there would have been serious riots, and the Muslims most likely would have been lynched.
We are indeed approaching a point of no return.
What lies ahead may be ugly and bloody, and the governments of the West seem utterly clueless as to how it can be avoided.